Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

Pick an apple! 
 
Option-Click AirPort Menu for Network Details

If you hold down the Option key while clicking the AirPort menu in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, you'll see not just the names of nearby Wi-Fi networks, but additional details about the selected network. Details include the MAC address of the network, the channel used by the base station, the signal strength (a negative number; the closer to zero it is, the stronger the signal), and the transmit rate in megabits per second showing actual network throughput. If you hover the cursor over the name of a network to which you're not connected, a little yellow pop-up shows the signal strength and type of encryption.

 
 

AT&T Adds ExpressCard 3G Cell Data Option for MacBook Pro

Send Article to a Friend

MacBook Pro owners have typically had to rely on USB-based modems to use third-generation (3G) cellular networks. Nova Media offers an ExpressCard HSUPA option which can work with a MacBook Pro on AT&T's U.S. 3G network (and tons of networks in Europe), but which costs €299 ($438). The advantage of an ExpressCard is really the form factor, which hides most of the device other than the antenna - sometimes with an external booster option.

AT&T has now introduced what looks to be the same item from device maker Option, but fully within its subsidized grasp. AT&T's GT Ultra Express works with Mac OS X 10.4.10 and later, and costs nothing (after two rebates are sent in) with a two-year subscription to AT&T's data service; that subscription runs $60 per month for unlimited usage. The card will cost $49 with the same contract terms after the second rebate stops being part of a limited-time promotion.


In an unrelated move, Nova Media announced at the same time that their launch2net software (€75/$110) can provide a bit more control over these "new" devices from AT&T than does the free downloadable Mac OS X software. The Nova Media software provides statistics to monitor bandwidth rates and usage, as well as various connection controls.


The timing is nice, because this new card coincides with AT&T's announcement that they would increase upload speeds and add 80 cities (for a total of 350 cities) to their American 3G network deployment. (See "More Mileposts Along Road to 3G iPhone," 2008-02-06. For an explanation of the various technology used in AT&T's network, see "Starbucks Deal Brewed with AT&T Has Hints of Apple," 2008-02-12.)

The GT Ultra Express, along with an identically priced PC Card version called the GT Ultra, is tri-band for 3G flavors and quad-band for EDGE. This lets it work in what AT&T describes as 140 countries - watch those international roaming fees, however!

The Mac OS X software - in one version for 10.4.10, and another for 10.4.11 and 10.5.0 or later - can be downloaded from AT&T's support site.

 

CrashPlan is easy, secure backup that works everywhere. Back up
to your own drives, friends, and online with unlimited storage.
With 30 days free, backing up is one resolution you can keep.
Your life is digital; back it up! <http://tid.bl.it/code42-tb>